In an effort to trim huge financial losses, the UK’s Guardian Media Group is deliberating ending production of The Observer, the world’s oldest Sunday paper. According to a report in the Financial Times, staff members at The Observer found a “secret” test-copy of a magazine bearing the paper’s name, indicating the parent company may be planning to replace the Sunday paper with a mid-week publication.
But the Sunday Times, Observer’s rival, reported that members of the charitable foundation Scott Trust, which owns GMG, had been shown copies of a dummy magazine on July 6. GMG’s closed-door discussions about the Observer’s future have sparked rumors and speculation among the paper’s staff over whether the company would revert to a magazine or stick with a pared-down version of the newspaper in favor of staff cuts, pay cuts and other reductions.
These drastic cost-cutting measures reaffirm the trans-Atlantic crisis faced by the newspaper industry. As of now, the company says there are no plans to close The Guardian, their daily paper, but Carolyn McCall, GMG’s chief executive, said she anticipates the company’s losses to continue. The prediction has led the company to consider other cost cuts such as a forced two-week unpaid vacation for staff.
And though mandatory vacations are preferable to unemployment, shifting the Sunday newspaper to a Thursday magazine makes weekends seem as bleak as an empty newsroom.